Imaging mass cytometry and multiplatform genomics define the phenogenomic landscape of breast cancer

H. Raza Ali, Hartland W. Jackson, Vito R. T. Zanotelli, Esther Danenberg, Jana R. Fischer, Helen Bardwell, Elena Provenzano, CRUK IMAXT Grand Challenge Team, Oscar M. Rueda, Suet-Feung Chin, Samuel Aparicio, Carlos Caldas & Bernd Bodenmiller, Nature Cancer 1, 163-175 (2020)


Genomic alterations shape cell phenotypes and the structure of tumor ecosystems in poorly defined ways. To investigate these relationships, we used imaging mass cytometry to quantify the expression of 37 proteins with subcellular spatial resolution in 483 tumors from the METABRIC cohort. Single-cell analysis revealed cell phenotypes spanning epithelial, stromal and immune types. Distinct combinations of cell phenotypes and cell–cell interactions were associated with genomic subtypes of breast cancer. Epithelial luminal cell phenotypes separated into those predominantly impacted by mutations and those affected by copy number aberrations. Several features of tumor ecosystems, including cellular neighborhoods, were linked to prognosis, illustrating their clinical relevance. In summary, systematic analysis of single-cell phenotypic and spatial correlates of genomic alterations in cancer revealed how genomes shape both the composition and architecture of breast tumor ecosystems and will enable greater understanding of the phenotypic impact of genomic alterations.